A strange passage in the beginning of Genesis contains the account of Noah who, after surviving the flood, planted a vineyard and made wine. After he drank the wine and became drunk one of his sons (Ham) sees him naked, tells his two brothers about it and they cover Noah up. After Noah wakes up he figures out what has gone on while he is asleep and curses Ham and his descendants.
Here is the passage: Genesis 9:20-27 (KJV)
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
What is meaning/significance of this passage? I have heard that it was used to justify slavery in the 17th and 18th century. I suspect that the Israelites used it to justify their invasion of Canaan in ancient times.
Is there not a better, more spiritual or redemptive interpretation on this passage?